D.C. United makes 10-year-old soccer fan's wish come true
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
D.C. United made a dream come true Thursday for a 10-year-old soccer fanatic living with a rare genetic condition. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the team welcomed him to practice and even put him to work.
Ten-year-old Gavin Smith loves soccer.
“He didn't get much sleep last night, he was so excited,” his mom Hollie Coleman said.
Coleman says he lives and breathes the sport.
“He won't even wear regular shoes. He wears soccer shoes, soccer everything — the shorts, shirts, everything,” she said.
Gavin also has CGD, which stands for chronic granulomatous disease. It causes his immune system to malfunction, resulting in recurrent infections.
His older brother Landon has the same condition but they've both rebounded after bone marrow transplants last year donated by their father.
“There's no feeling better than [helping your own child],” their father Paul Smith said.
Through Make-A-Wish, Landon enjoyed a trip to Disney World this past winter. But Gavin's request was to become a professional soccer player for a day.
The family traveled in a limo from their home in Baltimore to RFK Stadium, where United players welcomed them and assigned Gavin a locker with team gear. He even gave the team a pep talk.
“I hope you guys win the next game,” he said.
Gavin was most excited to meet soccer superstar Wayne Rooney.
“I said, ‘The one game, I scored like 9 goals.’ He was like, ‘Nice,’” Gavin said, describing his encounter with Rooney.
Today, both boys are in great health and Gavin is back to playing soccer.
Out on the practice field, he was the team's ball boy. He then got some tips from head coach Ben Olsen.
Gavin's experience continues on Sunday — game day at Audi Field — with VIP tickets for him and his family and a few surprises.